RALEIGH, N.C. – A former church Deacon and administrator of a church daycare program has been arrested on child pornography charges, according to
Currituck County Sheriff’s Detectives.
Richard Wayne Bell, 73, was one of 76 people arrested in the multi-state child exploitation operation, Operation Southern Impact II. He was released on bond.
The operation, which was between eight southeastern states, also rescued or identified 13 children as victims.
The operation focused on people who possess and distribute child pornography and sexually exploit children in other ways using technology and the internet.
Operation Southern Impact II started approximately four months ago and made arrests in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. A total of 222 law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies participated in the operation.
Those arrested ranged in age from 17 to 73. During the operation, 136 search warrants were executed and 100 knock and talks were conducted. During the operation, 736 digital devices were previewed and 1,200 digital devices were seized.
An undocumented immigrant who was working as a traveling Pastor in the Hispanic community in the Durham area was also arrested. Juarez Saravia, 35, admitted to created a fake Facebook profile to get a 14-year-old Virginia girl to take sexually explicit videos of herself, which she then sent to Saravia. Saravia is charged with first degree sexual exploitation of a minor, second degree sexual exploitation of a minor and indecent liberties with a child. He is being held on $750,000 bond. Evidence suggests that there may be more victims who are undocumented immigrants and thus less likely to report the crimes committed against them.